The unpredictable UK weather is encouraging British holidaymakers to seek sunshine abroad, according to the latest annual Barclays Travel Forum sentiment survey.
More than half of the travel industry representatives surveyed (54 per cent) expect demand for domestic holidays to decrease this year as consumers choose to take a foreign holiday, avoiding the risk of a damp break in the UK.
This is emphasised by 52 per cent of respondents who stated that they expect consumers to travel more this year than last, and this trend is set to grow into 2014, with 65 per cent expecting to see consumers travel more next year than they will do this year.
South America (32 per cent) is tipped to see the greatest increase in tourism over the course of the year.
Only 4 per cent expect North America to see an increase in tourism and Europe is down from 49 per cent last year to 27 per cent this year.
It would appear that exchange rates are impacting choice holiday destinations. Indeed, more than one in five (22 per cent) respondents cited exchange rates as the external issue they are most concerned about, with a further third (32 per cent) stating that currency volatility will account for the greatest price increase to holidays in 2013.
Chris Lee, Head of Travel, Barclays commented: “Consumers remain cautious about their spending. More than a third (34 per cent) of the industry respondents we surveyed stated that low discretionary spend is a key concern for them – and with weak exchange rates affecting many holidaymakers’ budgets, it’s understandable that consumers are choosing different holiday destinations, but it’s not stopping them from seeking sunshine abroad.”
According to the survey, 60 per cent believe Air Passenger Duty (APD) is adding to the financial burden and influencing how consumers choose to travel; more than one in four (28 per cent) state that flight taxes will account for the greatest increase to the cost of a holiday this year. One in five respondents believe the recent increase to APD is already having a major effect, with them seeing a drop in the number of people choosing to travel to long-haul destinations.
Commenting on the outlook for their individual businesses the respondents were overwhelmingly confident. More than half (54 per cent) expect to see growth of up to 10 per cent this year, almost one in five (19 per cent) expect to see growth of between 10-20 per cent and a further 15 per cent expect to experience major growth of over 20 per cent.
This confidence extends into 2014 with 84 per cent stating that they are confident about the outlook for their business – 23 per cent of whom were ‘very confident’.
Chris Lee added: “It’s great that the travel industry is so confident about what the future holds. It’s been a challenging few years, and while we are not out of the woods yet, we are seeing positive signs and the industry’s optimism is encouraging.”